This is the right time to build an eCommerce website. It’s no secret that eCommerce is an increasingly growing worldwide phenomenon. In 2019, eCommerce sales topped $3.5 trillion in revenue, which is an 18% increase from sales made in 2018. By 2023, this number is expected to double, so it’s clear that online sales and marketing is an industry that isn’t going away anytime soon.
If you’re starting up a business, eCommerce is likely your best option if you want to see heavy growth over the next few years.
Can you build your own eCommerce website?
In 2020, building your own eCommerce website to set up an online store is easy, and you don’t need any previous experience or training for the same. With the sophisticated site builder platforms, drag-and-drop capabilities and the plug-ins available today, you can build an eCommerce website on your own in a day (or two)!
By the end of this post, you will have all the information you need to get started on building your very own eCommerce website. By the end of this day, you might be the owner of a brand new eCommerce store ready to scale.
Have you thought of a name yet for your eCommerce store?
Search your .store domain NOW!
This post elaborates on:
- Why Does Your eCommerce Business Needs a Website
- How much does it cost to build an eCommerce website
- What are the Steps to Build an eCommerce Website
- How to Ensure Success of your eCommerce Website
- How to SEO-Optimize Your eCommerce Website
- How to Generate Leads from your eCommerce Website
- How to Supercharge your eCommerce Website’s Performance
- How to Take Care of your eCommerce Website’s Security
- How to Start a Blog for Your eCommerce Website
Why Does Your eCommerce Business Needs a Website?
You would think that in the modern and vastly digital 21st-century era that we live in, every business would have a dedicated business website.
Alas, that isn’t the case.
While every business wants to transform into a brand and have more people interact with it, the importance of having a business website is overlooked and instead, having a strong social media presence is given prime importance.
Having said that, Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms with a total of 2.27 billion active users. This is more than the population of China!
It’s obvious then – you should have a Facebook page for your business.
Probably, you already do. However, only having a Facebook page isn’t going to be enough.
You need to have a business website to reach people who are looking for you on search engines like Google and you need a website to capture existing traffic and to convert these visitors into customers.
Can I Use My Facebook Page To Create an eCommerce Website?
The answer is YES! Although Facebook has more active users than the world’s most populated country, the internet has even more active users.
With a website, you can reach everyone around the globe and gain better control over your brand and identity.
Pagevamp is a digital platform that instantly creates an attractive, easy-to-use website directly from a Facebook Page.
While they primarily pull out information from your Facebook page to build your website, their platform is flexible and allows for customizations in terms of adding new content to the website.
In fact, Pagevamp conducted an experiment with one of their customers, a restaurant owner in Arizona, to gauge how much traffic her business website would generate as compared to her Facebook page.
The results were quite astonishing!
They found that not only did her website get significantly more visitors than her Facebook page (about 55x more!), but she got significantly more reservations (paying customers!) from the phone number listed on her website.
Reasons why you need an eCommerce website:
1. Building Credibility
By building a business website you are enabling your business to be found by people from all over the world.
A well-designed website that includes all the necessary information along with compelling visuals makes for an important branding asset.
Since your website communicates valuable information about your business to people who visit it, it helps people to form a positive opinion of your brand when they search for you on the internet.
After all, your business website is your virtual office.
Your website also works as a platform where you can put out testimonials and reviews that help people to build trust and confidence in your business.
This is especially true in the case of a new eCommerce business looking to increase conversions.
2. Effective Marketing
Your website is, hands down, the most powerful and effective marketing platform under your belt.
The best part is that unlike your Facebook page, your business website is completely under your control.
The most effective way to get your business website to promote your business is to do the following:
- Investing a solid content marketing strategy by starting a blog and indulging in alternate content forms such as high-quality videos, infographics, and images.
- Go all out with SEO and ensure to use the right mix of relevant keywords across your website and blogs
- Include links to your website from all your social media handles and posts.
- Be sure to optimize your website for all devices (responsive website design)
- Offer customers a chance to leave reviews and feedbacks
- Create a website that is fast to load
- Offer all the necessary information about what you do, who you are, what products or services you offer, FAQs, contact details, and so on.
By following these basic guidelines, you can create a business website that is agile and equipped to market your business successfully.
The idea is to build strong SEO value and have people reach you rather than the other way around.
Furthermore, you can also use your website’s domain name as part of your marketing messaging and even brand your business accordingly.
For instance, if you are an eCommerce store using the domain name www.thebigshoe.store, you can brand yourself as ‘The Big Shoe Store’.
Here’s an elaboration on the three most important aspects of marketing an eCommerce website:
- Social media marketing
This involves creating and implementing a solid digital marketing strategy around the products available on your eCommerce website. This will most likely include both organic and paid marketing for social media channels.
- Content marketing
Content marketing plays a huge role in growing an eCommerce website’s reach and search ranking on search engines. By incorporating the right long-tail keywords, an eCommerce blog can attract relevant people to the website and prompt them to make a purchase.
Content marketing isn’t only restricted to creating blogs. Attractive social media posts, YouTube videos, infographics, etc. are all part of content marketing.
Another really important aspect of eCommerce marketing is Google. When Google’s algorithm lists your content in search results basis the context and keywords in the content, it is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.
Inversely, when you run a PPC marketing campaign or pay per click campaign with Google and other search engines, to showcase your content on top of search results, it is known as Search Engine Marketing.
A combination of SEO and SEM can do wonders for marketing your eCommerce website.
3. Positive ROI
Setting up a business website isn’t a very expensive affair.
Depending on how much your designer charges you and how much you spend on acquiring a domain name and hosting your website, you are looking at a much cost-effective solution than setting up a brick and mortar business.
A well-developed website that is strategically designed will surely enhance your brand’s online presence and bring with it a ton of tremendous benefits.
And the fact that your website will be accessible around the clock every day of the year means that you will surely start finding customers almost instantaneously.
Another great part about having a business website is that once you invest in it, you have it forever and it continues to work for you forever.
Compare this to advertising or other paid marketing avenues, and this investment makes a lot of sense.
When you pay for a newspaper ad, you reap the benefits from only that one ad.
The same holds true for Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and so on. They are all time-bound investments.
In the case of a website, even if you fail to make a positive ROI in the first year, you have until the end of time to get a return on your investment.
This makes it a valuable resource and one that doesn’t require much upkeep.
How much does it cost to build an eCommerce website?
eCommerce website development prices can range from $5,000 – $10,000, with no real upper limit. The cost of any eCommerce website will largely depend on the choice of the site-builder platform, the scale of marketing spends and the tech infrastructure needed to handle the traffic and sales generated.
Platform cost and commissions
Depending on whether you choose a self-hosted software such as WooCommerce or a hosted platform such as Shopify, your costs here will differ. Also, depending on the complexity of your website, you’ll need to purchase website extensions ranging from $0 to a few hundred dollars.
|Shopify||Plans from $29 to $299 monthly||Transaction fees from 0.5% to 2%|
|Squarespace||Plans from $34 to $50 monthly||No transaction fees|
|WooCommerce||Free to download. Free themes available; premium themes approx. $50||N/A|
|Magento||Opensource is free to use||N/A|
Domain, Hosting, SSL Costs
Starting an eCommerce website begins with finding the perfect domain name. The cost of domain names can range from $1 – $80 with annual renewals ranging between $10 – $80. Carefully understand the various critical aspects involved when you register a domain name. For a busy eCommerce website that has the potential to scale and is backed with speed and security, hosting costs can range from $400 to upwards of $2000. SSL certificates start from a $100 yearly and is an investment you must make to build trust.
Payment gateway Costs
When picking a payment gateway for your eCommerce website, you need a tool that is both accessible across multiple countries and is trusted by your audience. Here are a few payment gateway plans:
- Braintree: No monthly fees, a standard processing fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
- Stripe: A flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction as long as you’re doing under $1 million in volume per year. This rate varies from country to country, but it’s always flat.
- Authorize.net: A $49 setup fee, a $25 monthly gateway fee, and a 2.9% plus $0.30 per-transaction fee.
- Paypal: A transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 USD of the amount you receive.
Design & UX Cost
If you’ve chosen a self-hosted platform such as WooCommerce, chances are you’re going to need help with your web design and development. Even if you select a feasible platform, you may need to consult an expert to help you make the most of the design, user experience, which extensions to choose, and more. Costs for this can range anywhere from $1000 to $100,000 or even more.
Marketing your eCommerce website will make for an integral aspect of your monthly costs. You’ll need to invest in a good CRM software that lets you have a 360-degree communication strategy with your shoppers – be it live chat, support tickets, or email. You could even invest in a separate email marketing software such as Mailchimp which has an eCommerce focused package. Lastly, you’ll need to set aside a monthly budget for marketing activities on social media, content marketing, digital ads, Google AdWords and SEO.
If you aren’t dropshipping, you will need to invest in a good inventory management software. While you can get softwares such as Delivrd and Odoo for free, you will need to invest in one when you begin to scale. Additionally, you also need to keep in mind the warehouse costs and shipping costs to perfect your delivery management. With free shipping being a core benefit offered by various eCommerce businesses, you will need to factor that into your monthly P&L. You can read more about the costs of eCommerce logistics here.
These costs are an investment that will catapult your eCommerce website into a successful business.
How to Build an eCommerce Website from Scratch?
Here are some surefire ways to learn the essentials when it comes to eCommerce website development to ensure that your business skyrockets!
1. Decide What You’re Selling
The first thing you’ll need to do when you create an eCommerce store is to decide what you’re selling. Pick something that you can stock easily and sell at profit. You’ll also want to choose items that it’s possible for you as an independent entrepreneur to ship by yourself. You may have to wait a while for your business to grow to the point that you can hire someone to take it to the post office for you, after all.
Knowing what merchandise your store is going to focus on will make sure that you know who your target audience is. You’ll then be able to design a website that appeals to the demographics that you’re selling to by taking their interests into account.
2. Think of a Name and Domain
The next thing you’ll need to do is to decide on the name for your eCommerce store and the domain that you’re going to use.
Coming up with a name is a lot of fun. While it’s tempting to simply use your own last name in the pursuit of internet fame, this doesn’t always create the most catchy-sounding eCommerce store. Think of a joke or a pun that encapsulates what you’re all about- this will show people that the person behind the site has a sense of humor and make them more likely to shop at your store.
Alliteration also makes you appealing to your clientele because they’re likely to remember a catchy name. If you can’t think of a good pun, this is the way to go.
The process for choosing a domain name is a bit different. You’re going to want a domain that people remember, but you’re also going to want to buy something that shows what your store is all about. dotSTORE domains are perfect because they’re catchy and, placed beside your eCommerce shop’s name, make people remember that the name refers to an awesome store that they can buy from.
While you can read up on do’s and don’ts about picking the right domain extension, here’s what you should keep in mind when picking a domain name. Pick a name that is:
- Short, easy to type, and easy to remember
- Unique, relevant, and meaningful
- Clean, crisp, and uncluttered (free of any lingual or grammatical errors)
- Descriptive of what you sell and the industry you belong to
- The name of your brand or product
Additional Reading: 150+ Names of Online Stores and eCommerce Startups to Inspire You
Looking for ideas to find a brand name and domain name for your online store? Here’s everything you need and a [MASSIVE] list of 150+ names to inspire you! Check it out.
3. Know the Platforms You Can Use
Once you decide on a domain, you’re going to want to learn a little more about the online platforms you can use to set up your online store. While there are a huge number of options out there, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and narrowed it down to the top three most effective ones for building a website.
Here’s what you should keep in mind when picking an eCommerce platform:
- The reputation of the platform and service offered: Start by understanding the platform’s reputation in the market by asking the right questions. Are their previous clients happy with the services offered? What services are they offering? Can they build responsive, high-quality websites? Was the company able to deliver as promised to other users?
- Quality of clientele: Study who the previous clients were and whether their requirements were similar to yours. Did the clients benefit from their services? Did the clients have similar challenges like yours?
- Quality of projects.: Deep dive into the eCommerce websites built by the platform. Look for past eCommerce websites and projects that were similar to your current requirements. Were the websites a success? What is the success to failure ratio for such projects?
- Cost of services: Evaluate the cost of services being charged by the platform. Compare this with other estimates from other companies before zeroing in on your choice. Does the cost fit your budget? Are the returns on investment worth it? Is it cost-friendly to hire an in-house team of developers?
Which website builder is best for eCommerce?
There’s a reason that Shopify is the #1 eCommerce platform out there. For starters, it’s one of the single most expensive places out there where you can build your website. This will allow you to funnel your money where it matters rather than focusing on simply building your website. Shopify is also very user-friendly and is specially designed to allow you to build your ideal online store without extensive knowledge of coding. It has hundreds of apps and scalable features that you can use in growing your business.
BigCommerce is Shopify’s biggest direct competitor. It’s great because it has no transaction fees, meaning that neither you nor your clientele will need to set aside any of your hard-earned money for the web platform itself. It’s user-friendly in the same way that Shopify is for both you as a web developer and your customers. Single-page checkout makes things easy for consumers and is sure to have them coming back to your store over and over again.
WooCommerce is unique because it allows you to encode data from other pages into your website. It’s a WordPress plug-in, though, meaning that you need to have a preexisting account on WordPress if you want to use the platform. If you’re willing to do this, though, you’ll reap benefits such as a huge number of features and customization options. This platform is also the closest thing to a free platform, making it economically efficient.
Some of the other platforms include:
4. Follow Web Design Trends
So you have a domain name and a platform for selling your products. Great! It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of web design and make sure that your page is as engaging to potential customers as possible.
One thing you’ll want to do is to use the right colors for your webpage. This sounds like a small and insignificant thing, but it really isn’t- people are more likely to stay on websites with designs that they find engaging and like looking at. The most well-liked color for webpage backgrounds among both men and women is blue, with red as a close second for both genders. Try incorporating these colors into your brand, but make sure not to make the hues you select so bright that they hurt people’s eyes!
A growing trend in web design has also been to include a dark mode as an option on your website. This mode places white text on a black (or dark-colored) background rather than having dark text on a white background. This has been scientifically proven to be easier on people’s eyes, meaning that they can look at your page longer.
Easy, minimalist navigation pages are also an essential web design trend for you to be following. Doing this ensures that people won’t get lost while looking at your webpage and will continue to feel comfortable browsing.
5. Look at Other eCommerce Sites
When considering web design trends and figuring out what will work for your eCommerce site, you’re going to want to do a little research. Some trends are perfect when applied to blogs and other types of websites but are ineffective when it comes to making sales. Other trends may sound great in theory, but not be working in practice for sites that decide to implement them.
Use search engines and read blog posts regarding the trends that you’re most considering following. More importantly, check out other eCommerce websites with home page designs that have been proven effective in making sales. Don’t copy these designs explicitly, but put your own spin on aspects of the site designs that you like.
Use Visual Media
A huge trend in web design right now is the incorporation of graphics, images, and videos into your website. This is such an important aspect of a webpage that we’re devoting an entire section of this blog post to discussing it. If you do one thing for your site in the process of designing it, you need to incorporate visuals. Read on to learn how.
Images and Graphics
Since 65% of people are visual learners, images and graphics are essential to building an engaging site. You can incorporate images of products similar to yours or, even better, photos of people using the goods that you sell. This will show people that your items are being used by others and are enjoyable and necessary to enhance their lives.
Graphics- especially infographics- are the ideal way to convey information on your webpage, too. If you want to incorporate sales statistics or any other numbers into your page, people will be much more likely to read and absorb the information in this format.
Videos are also a great way to engage people on your website. This is especially the case for videos involving people talking about your products and using them. If you include these videos, you’ll be allowing people to connect with your page on a human level. They’ll see another person who enjoys your products and feel a connection to that person. This is a great way to build loyalty and make sales.
6. SEO and Advertising
In order to get your blog higher up in search engines, you’re going to want to hire SEO services to write blog posts for your eCommerce store. Professionals will use keywords, backlinks, and more to boost your position in Google and other search engines. Targetted effort towards eCommerce SEO is sure to organic traffic and get clicks in no time, allowing you to make as many sales as possible.
In addition to SEO, targeted advertising and digital marketing strategy is a must-have for any eCommerce business. Advertisements that use algorithms to show your products in search engines or on social media to those searching for similar goods is a great way to reel in customers. You can also target ads to your target audience based on demographics like age, gender, and location. On a side note, do check out our piece on Instagram hacks for eCommerce to optimize your store’s Instagram profile for maximum engagement.
To amp up your website’s effectiveness, have a look at these resources pertaining to specific pages of your website:
How to Ensure the Success of your eCommerce Website?
To help you make an eCommerce website that is equipped to serve your customers and you in the most optimized way, here are some essentials you should look at integrating into your website:
1. Responsive Web Design (RWD)
Today, people browse the web on a host of devices with varying screen sizes. Smartphones, smart tablets, smartwatches, car infotainment systems, etc.
Responsive website design works well to attract a wider audience and offer a seamless brand experience across devices.
With mobile shopping picking up big time, having a responsive website design is imperative for your business’s success.
Just imagine, if a customer enters your URL and the webpage does not automatically adjust to the size of the browser.
They would have to manually zoom in or out to browse.
2. Various Payment Methods
Online shopping is all about convenience. To amplify this convenient nature of online shopping your eCommerce website should be equipped to handle different payment methods.
Customers should be allowed to make payment via PayPal, Stripe, Google Pay, Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash on Delivery, Alipay, etc.
3. HTTPS and SSL Security
Your eCommerce website should include a layer of HTTPS and SSL security. Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure or HTTPS and Secure Sockets Layer or SSL are crucial security features for websites nowadays.
They protect sensitive data of your website visitors’. A secure website means your visitors will trust your business.
As an online store, these protection layers are necessary to ensure that customers’ personal particulars and transaction information will not be leaked.
4. A Systematic Online Store
Once the customer places their order, the backend system should automatically receive a notification so that the merchant can immediately prepare to send out the order.
When the order is sent out, the customer should be notified. This systematic and smart flow will ensure that your eCommerce business always wins in the customer experience department.
5. Simplified Sign up Process
Your eCommerce website should offer a seamless and simple sign up system. Provide an easy sign-up process that uses Facebook or Gmail, so customers can easily become a member on your eCommerce website.
Avoid subjecting your customers to an extensive process or a series of complicated steps and procedures to sign up with you.
6. Simple Web Interface
A simple and logical flow of information and product pages will help your eCommerce website offer a superior user experience. Always remember, less is more when it comes to website design.
Leave enough room for whitespace and pick a simple website design template so your customers don’t get lost. And remember to compress high-quality images for faster loading.
7. Sharing of Products Anytime, Anywhere
Online shopping is also about social elements. An amazing online shopping experience is all about allowing the customer to share products across different social media platforms and with their near and dear ones.
This is good for your brand since your website and products can reach more people. So, it is wise to include social media buttons, so your visitors can share their experience with others.
How to SEO-Optimize Your eCommerce Website?
What’s the point of having a slick online store if no one can find it?
For eCommerce businesses, organic visitors are among the most valuable sources of new visitors and customers. According to eCommerce studies, organic search engine visitors are more likely to buy something than visitors from social media channels or email.
To tap into the potential of this cost-effective marketing strategy of search engine optimization, you can start writing content that will attract visitors from search engines using keywords.
1. Determine Your Target Keywords
You should carry out a detailed keyword research before you start creating your content strategy and writing. One of the best tools to do this is Google’s Keyword Planner because it’s based on Google search data, which is the most reputable search engine worldwide.
With a keyword research tool, you can find out the volume and competition of the keywords you’re planning to write on. If you’re looking for ideas, you can also use the suggestion tool for inspiration.
This will show you possible related keywords that also have high search volumes and/or low competition.
The key to keyword research is that it can support or deny some of the ideas that you’ve intuitively gathered and wanted to write about.
To get a great start, you can initially compile a list of primary keywords that will be the focus in your online store. Then, develop sub-sections of keywords that will be included as well, but not as targeted keywords. In this case, you can also include keywords that are higher in competition or lower in search volume.
What are the Top Keyword Research Tools?
Simply put, the keywords that you use can make or break your website when it comes to SEO performance. Here are a few handy keyword research tools you can use:
- Google Keyword Planner
- SEO Chat
When performing keyword research, here are some factors you should consider:
- Search Volume: This is the average number of times your desired keyword is searched for every month. It is advisable to pick words that have an average search volume. For instance, a search volume of 500,000 will be difficult to compete for, whereas, a keyword with a search volume of 15,000 will help you rank higher for.
- Keyword Difficulty (KD): This is the level of difficulty of ranking for the keyword on search engines.
- Cost-per-click (CPC): This indicates how much advertisers are willing to pay for people to click on an advertisement for a particular keyword.
2. Use Long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are basically phrases consisting of at least three words that people search for on the web.
The use of long-tail keywords has become even more popular with the advent of voice search.
If you notice Google provides a search prediction as you type in what you are searching for.
This auto-complete feature indicates what long-tail keywords your target audience is probably searching for.
People no longer search for ‘shoes’ when they wish to buy shoes online. They search for ‘buy stylish shoes in London’.
This new trend for searching for something specific has given rise to long-tail keywords and which is why they play a significant role in search engine optimization.
It is essential to include long-tail keywords in your product copy and in your blogs.
3. Optimize Meta Description, Alt Tags, URL Structure, etc
Firstly, write compelling content in your blogs and write a descriptive product copy that entices people to make a purchase.
Furthermore, include a meta description for all your product pages, use ALT tags for your images with relevant keywords, and make sure the URL structure for all your pages are simple and straightforward.
Include customer reviews and advocacies wherever possible. This boost SEO in the form of new content and builds trust for your brand in the minds of new customers. Be sure to link to relevant pages and blogs within your own website. Search engines feast on websites that are smartly linking to relevant internal pages. This will help your eCommerce to rank higher.
Also, when designing the flow of your website, keep the user journey in mind. A logical flow of information and pages offers a better user experience and will also structure your URLs better. Make sure your contact details are always mentioned clearly on every page, so customers can get in touch with you without having to abandon their cart.
4. Craft Unique and Engaging Content
If you publish content on your website, search engines will attribute plus points if your content is high-quality, original and unique.
How do search engines compare whether a piece of content is high-quality? By using the metrics bounce rate and average time on site. Using these metrics, search engines recognize helpful and relevant content and place it in top pages.
To create plagiarism-free content that will resonate with your target audience, you can use some of the following tools:
- TrustMyPaper – a writer platform where you can hire content creators to craft unique, compelling and engaging content for your online store
- Grammarly – an AI-powered tool that corrects your grammar and spelling, checks for plagiarism and provides style suggestions
- WritingJudge – a writing portal comparing the world’s best writing services, allowing you to decide for the best content managers for your eCommerce site
- Canva – a design tool that allows you to create infographics, visuals and even explainer videos to make your content more dynamic and engaging
- GrabMyEssay – a website where you can order a piece of writing for your online store that’s going to be SEO-friendly and original
If you want to publish your content in multiple languages and reach a global audience, you can also hire freelance experts to localize your store content, product descriptions and other pieces of text.
5. Optimize All Sections of Your eCommerce Website
Search engine optimization should not be done only within a specific text aiming to feature target keywords. It should actually be embedded into the site itself: from the text on the homepage and URLs to subtler pieces of your website like meta tags.
Before you publish a post or a product description, make sure all of the bits of text are optimized – not only the main text but also headings, subheadings, URL, image titles, image tags, and others.
“Even though it’s usually the largest, the article’s body is actually just a piece of the SEO puzzle. If you are a writer or a marketer who wants to achieve the best possible reaction to your article, you have to pay attention to every detail. Titles and headings are especially important”, says Melanie Sovann, a writer at Studicus.
If you set aside enough time to do this right before publishing (however time-consuming it can sometimes be), it can turn into a piece of content that will constantly bring you organic visitors over time.
6. Pay Attention to Links
External and internal linking is an important part of SEO writing.
When it comes to internal links, make sure the anchor text and the page you’re directing to are relevant. Also, make sure that you are not directing to a site that’s dysfunctional or doesn’t exist anymore – this will give you minus points with search engines. If you’re using WordPress as your content management system, you can use plugins to check whether some of your links are broken.
As for external links, the more authority they have on Google and other search engines, the better. That’s why you should always aim to link to credible sources such as scientific articles, studies, journals, news outlets, etc.
Every external link must be relevant to the topic of the article as well. Otherwise, a search engine algorithm might not perceive it as a keyword-themed article at all.
As an eCommerce website, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on the potential content marketing can offer you. Attracting more organic visitors (via search engines) can boost your website traffic along with your sales.
If you don’t know how to approach search engine optimization for your website or you’d like it to be done by experts, you can hire freelance professionals or agencies that specialize in SEO.
However, if you’re patient and willing to invest enough time and effort into SEO writing for your store, you can become quite good at it in a short amount of time. Just follow some of the main tips that we have outlined above.
Additional Reading: How To Make Your eCommerce Website Flourish
How to Generate Leads from your eCommerce Website?
The quality of your leads is only as good as the website that produces them. This is why your online business needs a high-quality lead generating eCommerce website.
Having said that, your lead generating eCommerce website or landing page need not have to be overly complicated or design-heavy. It needs to be simple and functional and peppered with all the necessary components that will convert idle visitors into potential customers.
But before we dive into the ‘how’s’ and ‘what’s’ of creating a lead generating eCommerce website, let’s understand a few basics first.
What Is A Lead?
A lead is a person who has shown interest in your company’s product or service.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of enticing and converting strangers into prospects who are interested in your company’s product or service.
Lead generation is a significant part of the growth process for eCommerce businesses and it is heavily dependent on several inbound marketing activities such social media marketing, content marketing, referral marketing, and overall eCommerce SEO strategies.
While there are several lead generation tactics that eCommerce businesses can choose to adopt, it is imperative to first understand the various components that make for a lead generating eCommerce website.
1. Chart Out the End-Goal First
The first step of creating a lead generating eCommerce website begins with charting out the end-goal first. What exactly does a “lead” mean to you?
Defining this will enable you to set clearer goals and plot your visitors’ journey as they progress through each stage of your sales funnel. On a granular level, you should ask the following questions:
Is a lead considered someone who fills out a form? Is it Someone who signs up for a newsletter? Is it someone who requests a callback?
Clearly chart out who or what your lead is and then spend time planning their conversion process.
2. Include a Contact Details
As an eCommerce business, including contact details on your website, may come across as counterintuitive.
However, if you are a new eCommerce business looking to build confidence among your target buyers, then displaying your phone number will go a great deal in offering comfort to them.
You can even include your office address and email ID to enable customers to reach out to you.
This will give them a positive indication about your customer service standards and will further assure them of the fact that they can reach out to you personally in case of any issues.
3. Mobile Responsiveness
Currently, 51.12% of global web traffic originates from mobile devices. This number was at 48% in 2018.
And according to Statista, 2.15 billion people worldwide are expected to make online purchases on a mobile device by the year 2021.
These statistics indicate the sheer importance of having a mobile responsive website design for your online store.
Since a major portion of your target online shoppers use handheld devices to shop online, your lead generating eCommerce website should be optimized to be device agnostic.
The seamless shopping experience will translate into a superior brand experience which will help you capture high-quality leads and convert them into loyal customers.
4. Include Forms on Every Page
Give your visitors a chance to connect with you on every single page of your website. Include a simple pop-up or permanent form on all the pages of your eCommerce website.
Offering easy access to your lead generation form is paramount to increasing the number of leads. Furthermore, ask for limited information on the first step. Don’t ask too much information from visitors in the very first step.
Stick to asking details such as name and email ID, to begin with. This will prompt visitors to sign up with you or fill the form proactively. A lead generating eCommerce website should not deter people from sharing basic information. Instead, it should make it easy.
5. Include Testimonials and Social Proof
A powerful way to get visitors to take an interest in your products is to showcase customer testimonials. This can be a powerful marketing tool to get people to trust your eCommerce brand.
Furthermore, adding photos or even high-quality content and media such as podcasts or videos can help hugely to get people to notice you and consider buying your products.
While investing in high-quality and rich media is tedious and gruesome for new eCommerce businesses that are low on resources, solid testimonials can have a powerful impact on the minds of new visitors and prompt them to convert into promising leads.
In addition, you can also choose to showcase social proof parameters such as the number of Facebook likes, Instagram Followers, number of products sold, the number of happy customers, etc. This will lend support to your brand.
6. Strong Product Copy
Your product pages must include crisp, clear, and concise product descriptions that are not only informative but also address important questions and queries. Your product copy should sell the products it endorses.
Use powerful action verbs such as “get”, “feel” and “have” instead of a passive tone such as “imagine having”, “imagine feeling” and so on.
Action-oriented words will stir visitors to seriously consider your offer and understand the utility of your products rather than just imagining them.
Your eCommerce website should be devoid of passive tone phrases and words.
In addition, include high-quality images from all angles and even try and include a video that showcases the utility of your product in a variety of scenarios.
You never know, maybe your casual visitor is a victim of a problem that your product solves with great efficiency!
7. Test, Test, and Test Some More
Every eCommerce business is different, every eCommerce website is unique to that business, and every eCommerce business’s target audience is different.
So, none of the tips mentioned above will do your eCommerce business justice unless you test them for yourself.
Doing this will help you determine what works for your business, your target audience, and your niche.
Having said that, lead generation takes time to increase and improve. The quality of leads and conversion rates also take time.
Building a lead-generating eCommerce website requires time, effort, tact, and a deep understanding of your business and target customers. However, once optimized, your eCommerce website will receive a flood of new leads that you can then target to boost conversions.
Additional Reading: 6 Lead Generation Tactics Your eCommerce Store Should Adopt Now!
Here are a few lead generation tactics that will help you drive quality traffic to your eCommerce store. Read on!
How to Supercharge your eCommerce Website’s Performance?
Nobody likes a slow and unresponsive eCommerce website. In fact, eCommerce best practices suggest optimizing your website performance to deliver the best possible customer experience.
Many eCommerce businesses suffer from slow websites that often end up crashing, especially on heavy sales days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Other eCommerce websites face security breaches since they aren’t Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant.
Having said that, improving your eCommerce website performance can be a cost-intensive and time-intensive activity. Increasing or maintaining the eCommerce website speed involves huge costs, especially for mobile. Downtimes and the need for constant engineering performance into an existing legacy platform also add to the overall costs.
Let’s look at some key parameters of eCommerce website performance that you should channel your efforts towards.
The Significance of Website Speed
The recommended loading time for a website as per Google is 3 seconds. However, in 2018 the average load time for eCommerce websites in the US was 9.8 seconds.
This statistic is indicative of how eCommerce website speed is an alarming issue and one that needs attention. Additionally, consumers have become less patient now and don’t usually want to wait for more than 3 seconds for a homepage to open.
If the homepage takes too long to open, buyers hop to other websites. As an eCommerce brand, you can’t afford to lose your customers to other brands because of the lack of speed of your site.
Prioritize Mobile Website Performance
Did you know that 9% of smartphone users have shopped online using their mobile devices in the last 6 months? And nearly 40% of all eCommerce purchases during the 2018 holiday season were made on a smartphone?
These statistics coupled with the fact that smartphones have taken over laptops and personal computers make for a convincing reason why your eCommerce business needs to prioritize your mobile website performance.
Many websites work well on laptops and desktops, but fail to give users a similar experience on phones. You need to constantly carry out mobile website performance testing to ensure that you’re mobile site is meeting the customer expectations as well.
A bad experience with a website on mobiles like a slow response or below-average performance could disconnect a brand from its customers completely.
As per an article released by Google in February 2019, a 1-second delay in website load time in mobile could cause a 20% drop in conversions. To provide your customers with a seamless mobile experience, you need to optimize your website for mobile.
Search Engine Results
A lot of customers start searching for a product by using search engines. Unless you sell something truly unique, chances are that users will come across a host of eCommerce websites that sell the same product.
For your website to rank within the top search results, you need to keep track of your website performance metrics and consistently take measures to improve your eCommerce website’s speed.
The load time and speed of a website plays a critical role in making the website rank higher on search engine results pages.
In fact, Google rewards websites that render better and faster on mobile devices so much so that mobile page speed is now a critical factor for better SEO ranking for both, the desktop and mobile versions.
When a site has a slow loading speed, search engines tend to crawl lesser pages during their allocated budget for crawling, and that could damage your indexation and position in rankings.
eCommerce Website Scalability
eCommerce website performance isn’t only about speed. A large part of your website’s success depends on how scalable your base platform is.
eCommerce businesses and merchants need to opt for the right eCommerce platform to build their online stores. Ideally, they need to factor in scalability as part of their platform selection process.
While eCommerce big guns like Amazon have set the benchmark very high in terms of great customer experiences customers, users now expect a similar experience even when shopping from smaller brands.
Here’s what you need to bear in mind when deciding how to scale your eCommerce website:
eCommerce Website Flexibility
In order to outperform the competition, you need to opt for a platform that is flexible enough to allow for customizations that will help you to always be in your consumer’s consideration set.
To build a scalable business you would require an open API (Application Program Interface), that enables developers to create a completely customized user experience for your customers.
Customizations like this are really expensive if you’re dealing with an old legacy platform. Moving to an open API allows you to make these customizations without going over-budget setting you apart from your competitors.
eCommerce Website Reliability
In several traditional open-source legacy platforms, you are responsible for the website maintenance and periodic upgradations that are required to keep your website performing.
This is not an ideal situation since you will have to hire technical help over and above the platform charges. Doing this will further add to your costs every month.
You will also have to be highly proactive in downloading and installing updates as soon as they release, to secure your website from hackers and data breaches. Even a slight delay could endanger your system.
However, if you opt for a SaaS solution, these costs will be covered in your standard monthly fee, without any risk to site security or downtime issues.
Online customers need your website to be reliable at all times. This is especially true for holiday sales as they make for a big sales opportunity and serves as a window to make a mark and build a long-term relationship with your customers.
An unreliable site will not only cost you in terms of lower sales but will also potentially impact your business in the long term.
The world of eCommerce is a highly competitive space and in order to win big, your website performance plays a critical role. Parameters like website speed, scalability, and reliability are critical factors of a successful eCommerce website.
How to Take Care of your eCommerce Website’s Security?
Running a successful eCommerce business is largely dependant on how secure the website is. Surprisingly though, eCommerce website security is not given as much importance as it should be getting.
With cybercrime on the rise, your customers’ sensitive data such as payment details and personal information should be secure and safe at all times.
To ensure top-level website security, it’s best to weave in all safety measures at the time of setting up your eCommerce website.
What is eCommerce Website Security?
eCommerce website security refers to the principles that guide safe electronic transactions for the buying and selling of goods and services online.
eCommerce websites are a major target for hackers and for imposters, fraudsters, and competitors because eCommerce websites store thousands of user IDs, financial and personal information, product catalog and prices, etc.
To earn and maintain the customers’ trust, your eCommerce company needs to make sure that it has the right level of website security in place.
Common Terminology Related To eCommerce Website Security
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – Also known as PCI, it’s an industry standard to ensure that credit card information is being transmitted and stored safely online.
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – ISO is an international body for setting the standard to make sure that products and processes are fit to use. ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is one of their standards for data security for businesses.
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and HTTPS authentication – SSL certificate authenticates and encrypts links between networked computers, which allows you to move from HTTP to HTTPS.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA), 2-factor authentication (2FA), & 2-step verification – All three are similar methods that require at least one more method of identity verification for logging in to ensure eCommerce website security.
- Distribute Denial of Service (DDoS) – It’s a disruption of the server, network traffic or service by overwhelming it with huge online traffic, blocking customers out of your store.
Importance Of Cybersecurity For Your eCommerce Business
- Compliance – To ensure eCommerce website security, your business needs to meet specific standards to be considered in compliance.
- Financial solvency – If this is breached, you may have to spend on forensic investigation, credit monitoring, data recovery, etc.
- Customer trust – Customer trust is critical to a business and losing it could have a huge impact.
Biggest Security Threats to your eCommerce Website
- Phishing – A common method used by attackers for tricking victims into providing their private information like account numbers, passwords, social security numbers, etc.
- Malware and ransomware – Malware is any software that attackers can install on your system. Ransomware is a particular malware that locks you out of your system until you pay the ransom.
- SQL injection – If your site stores data in an SQL database, injecting a malicious query into a packaged payload can provide the attacker access to manipulate information.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) – Inserting a malicious code that can expose users of the page to phishing attempts, malware, and more.
- E-skimming – Stealing credit card information or personal data from processing pages of card payment options on eCommerce sites.
Best Practices for eCommerce Website Security
#1 Implement strong and unique passwords
A majority of cyber attacks occur by stealing or hacking weak passwords. Some of the things to keep in mind while creating passwords are:
- They should have at least eight characters, combining both cases, numbers, and symbols
- They should never be shared
- They shouldn’t be used for other logins
- Sensitive information like date of birth, social security number or any info that can be used to answer security questions shouldn’t be publicly shared
#2 Protect your devices
Ensure that your connected devices like office computers, personal computers, and smartphones are cyber secure with firewalls, antivirus software, etc.
#3 Avoid social engineering attempts
The most effective way to avoid malware infections is to not fall for the phishing traps. Personal information should be provided only after proper identity verification of the recipient. You shouldn’t click on the links in suspicious emails or download attachments that you didn’t expect to receive.
Below are some of the ways to identify phishing emails:
- Obvious grammatical and spelling mistakes in the subject line or body of the email
- Domains that look familiar but have spelling errors
- URLs with spelling errors
- Suspicious emails asking you to transfer money or authorize a charge
#4 Implement additional authentication factors
Even though it might feel like a burden sometimes, using additional authentication factors always gives you the assurance that only you and your authorized users are logging into the store.
Include 2-factor authentication and one-time passwords as an added layer of security for your users.
#5 Store only the necessary customer data
Store only the data that you would need for your business and avoid storing unnecessary data that makes you and your customers vulnerable to cyberattacks of any sort.
#6 Keep the site up to date
Cybersecurity is a very dynamic affair. Attackers constantly search for vulnerabilities and end up finding them. Software engineers also keep identifying and updating them to be able to restrict the attackers.
If you keep your site updated, it will usually have the necessary updates from engineers to restrict the attackers. Be sure to regularly update all security systems and firewalls.
#7 Switch to HTTPS
HTTPS hosting keeps your website secure and imparts a positive signal to your customers. Furthermore, you need to acquire an SSL certificate for switching to HTTPS. Google has also included HTTPS as a ranking factor for websites.
#8 Back up data
Irrespective of your efforts, there will also exist an unfortunate possibility where you might experience a data breached and lose all the information you’ve collected over time.
Always back up your data so that, in the contingent event of something like this happening, you can get your business back up and running in a jiffy.
#9 Regularly review all plugins and third-party integrations
You can take an inventory of all third-party solutions that you’re running within your store. You need to know what they are and assess your level of trust in them.
In case you’re not using them, you can remove that integration from your store. It helps to improve eCommerce website security by ensuring that fewer number of parties have access to your customer data, without hindering your business.
To succeed as a business, you need to ensure privacy and security, and pay the required attention to security monitoring and maintenance.
eCommerce website security is a very important aspect of today’s business scenario. By following it, not only can you ensure a safe business experience but also build customer trust eventually grow your business.
Additional Reading: How to Build a DIY Website For Your Small Business Without Coding
We spoke with Alannah Moore, a DIY website specialist, to talk about how small business owners looking to go online can build their own website without having to code and without compromising on the quality or functionalities of their website. Read on!
How to Start a Blog for Your eCommerce Website?
Now that you are set to kickstart your eCommerce website, don’t forget to plan for a blog to help you draw top-of-the-funnel traffic as well as to give active-intent customers all of the bottom-of-the-funnel information that will help them make the purchase.
Here are some of the top reasons why you need a blog integrated with your eCommerce website:
Search engines love new content and regular blogging ensures just that. eCommerce SEO is all about using relevant keywords that you wish to rank for.
Blogging and content marketing means you can target specific long-tail keywords to build SEO for your website.
As an eCommerce store, you can blog about tips and tricks, trends and style mantras, that cater to your target audience and build authority in your niche.
Valuable and high-quality content will enable your eCommerce brand to become an expert.
SEO and authority will drive more traffic to your blog.
More traffic to your website means your audience will also browse through what you sell and make purchases since they know you are a credible eCommerce store.
Use your blog to engage with your customers on an ongoing basis.
For example, you can share inspirational stories relevant to your industry or how your business came to be. Include images and video tutorials or various applications of your product.
Blogging will keep your audience engaged with your brand.
While your blog alone may not contribute to building brand loyalty, it plays a significant role in the process.
Quality content that is an appropriate balance of quirky, professional, relevant and information-driven will help to build loyalty.
How to Start A Blog
Now you know the importance of starting a blog for your eCommerce store, let’s get you up to speed on how you can start blogging.
Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform
When it comes to starting a blog for your eCommerce store, you would probably want to host it on your website.
However, WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are some of the most popular platforms available.
WordPress is among the most popular and widely used blogging platforms. Equipped with a simple-to-use interface and flexible functionality, WordPress options include hosted and self-hosted blogs.
- Hosted WordPress blogs are free but limit certain controls.
- Self-hosted WordPress blogs have a nominal cost attached as they offer more control in terms of customization and functionality.
Step 2: Select a simple theme
Keep the theme for your blog page in sync with the rest of your website design or in sync with your brand guidelines and brand tone.
Legible typography and clean background with enough whitespace should make for a soothing reading environment.
An attractive yet simple blog theme will help your readers understand your content and prompt them to keep coming back.
WordPress has a wide array of themes to choose from, so explore all your options before picking one.
Before you zero in on the theme, preview it to see what it looks like for your visitors and read the reviews.
Also, check for the last date of the update to ensure that the theme is constantly receiving support from its developers.
Responsiveness is a crucial design element to consider. Your blog page should seamlessly work on all device types and screen sizes.
Step 3: Get the Best Blogging Plugins
For your blog to achieve its full potential, it is essential to embed smart plugins.
These plugins will not only make your life easier but also deliver an enhanced brand and user experience.
Here are a few smart WordPress Plugins that you can choose for your blog.
Yoast SEO — Optimizes your blog for the best SEO results.
BackupBuddy — Enables to store and backup all your website content on a regular basis.
WPForms — Allows you to create contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, and other types of online forms.
Google Analytics — Provides valuable statistics and insights into understanding how your blog is performing and your audience.
Edit Flow — Offers a smooth workflow management system for multiple authors.
After the Deadline — Ensures that your blog is free of grammatical and spelling errors.
Sucuri — Runs checks on your blog website for any suspicious activity and provides real-time alerts.
Step 4: Write Compelling Content
Once your eCommerce blog is set up and ready to roll, you must woo your readers with content that is value-driven, well thought of, easy to consume, and informative.
Compelling content across the sales funnel will enable your blog to engage successfully with your target audience and build a community.
This will in-turn help you to become an authority in your niche and empower you to build a credible eCommerce brand.
Write about topics that are applicable to the online shopping industry, fashion industry, style guides, etc. and then subtly slide in your products.
A top tip here is to avoid making your blog too sales. Ideally, your blog content should prompt the reader to be moved by your words and act on your CTA.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing compelling content, keep things simple and informative is a formula that always works.
And voila! You are all set to starting a blog for your eCommerce store!
Now that you know how to build an eCommerce website from scratch, it’s time to get started on choosing a domain for your website. Click here to sign up with us and begin creating a site with a .store domain.
Search your .store domain NOW!